How to Write a Summary of a Book

How to Write a Summary for a Book Chapter

Sooner or later, we all face the terrible word “summary” in our studying program. Often, this writing activity is given to students as an assignment for summer. Eventually, when you come close to the process of summarizing, you can’t always put your finger on what to start with. Thus, here we’re going to answer such questions as “How to start a summary?”, “What to put in the summary?”, “What structure does the summary have?”, etc. Let’s proceed!

The first thing you should remember is that the summary is not an essay, so you don’t have to conduct the great research and be over creative with new ideas. Moreover, you don’t even have to look for references, everything you have to summarize is already given to you, be it a book or a chapter. So, what is a summary then? Basically, it is the content of a book or chapter in your own words and the explanation of its main ideas. Now, just pick your book, notebook and a pen and be ready to do three simple things:


Even though it now looks quite easy and clear, still there’s a structure (mentioned last) that your summary should follow. It resembles an argumentative essay structure, so there will be nothing new.

1. Your unique title

Think over what you’re going to stress in your summary and give it a high-sounding name using stylistic devices like metaphor, simile, personification, etc. Later, connect the title with your reasoning within the summary itself.

2. Introduction with a thesis statement

Introduction is the head of your summary, and teachers often tend to judge the whole work from it. Start it with your thesis statement delivering the idea of what the book is about and what your summary is going to reveal. In this part, you also have to include basic information about the book (author, date of publication, genre).


3. Body paragraphs discussing your comprehension of a book

If you paid attention to the first advice and have taken important notes, it simplifies your writing multiply. Now, separate everything you’ve written into main groups of elements: characters (protagonist and antagonist), theme, and the supporting details. Your future paragraphs will be based exactly on these three. Next, identify “who, what, where, when, why and how” in brief and dwell on the exposition (or beginning), rising action, climax, falling action, and ending. In the body paragraphs, you can paraphrase some pieces of a book, but don’t copy the exact text and don’t give quotes: they’re unnecessary as this kind of writing should be laconic. Also, if assigned by the teacher, don’t forget to do the proper literary analysis.

4. Reading’s conclusion

This part appears to be the summary of your summary. To be precise, review all main points once again and give them your personal opinion. And here your creativity starts: you may admit loving this book or be sincere about your disgust. You can go along with the main character and his or her motives or express your antipathy to them. Give reasons to your opinion in the brightest colors and may it be your best summary ever!

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